HR: 09:15h
AN: ED21B-06    [Abstracts]
TI: The Influence of a Teacher Research Experience on Elementary Teachers' Thinking and Instruction
AU: * Dixon, P J
AF: Florida State University/National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 E. Paul Dirac Dr., Tallahassee, FL 32312 United States
AB: Creating opportunities for elementary teachers to develop knowledge of effective science teaching is an important goal of educators (NRC, 1996). Often unrecognized for their role in science education, elementary teachers may be responsible for delivering more hours of science instruction than high school teachers. However, previous research indicates that elementary teachers' content preparation in science is often inadequate (Tolman & Campbell, 1991). Moreover, unlike undergraduate science majors and secondary science teachers, elementary teachers are rarely given the opportunity to work with scientists in conducting science. In order to address these deficiencies in the preparation of elementary teachers, several forms of professional development have been explored by educators. These have included programs that focused on elementary teachers' analysis of video cases (Tippins, Nichols, & Dana, 1999), and collaborative inquiry (van Zee, Lay, & Roberts, 2003). However, few have examined the impact of the research experience model on elementary teachers' thinking and instruction. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether and how elementary teachers' thinking and instruction changed as a result of a teacher research experience. Four elementary teachers participated in a six week professional development program designed to promote changes in scientific thinking and instructional practices. Each teacher worked with a scientist conducting research and collaborated with other teachers in translating their experiences into lessons. Data in the form of classroom observations and interviews were collected both before and after the research experience. Document analysis was also conducted on laboratory notebooks, reflective journals, and lesson plans that were collected during the research experience. Discussed are the specific changes to thinking and instruction that resulted from the research experience and how such changes differed between beginning and experienced elementary teachers.
DE: 0815 Informal education
DE: 0825 Teaching methods
DE: 0830 Teacher training
SC: Education and Human Resources [ED]
MN: Fall Meeting 2005